Last minute Christmas shopping: 7 ways to stress less and shop smart

December is the most expensive month of the year and retailers lick their lips as we splurge on last-minute purchases in the lead up to Christmas Day.

If you’re not ahead of the game and completely missed the Black Friday sales and Vogue Shopping Night then - like the rest of us -  you'll be chaotically trying to get your gift list ticked off before the holidays begin.  

Here are our helpful tips to stress less and shop smart this year.

1. Gift Finder

Hard to Find has introduced a Gift Finder section, taking the time out of deciding on the right gift. Punch in who it’s for, their personality traits and some added inspiration, and it gives you a list of relevant gift ideas.

Many sites have a similar feature, recommending Christmas gift ideas (for him, her, kids, pets - you name it) bundled around a specific price point. Sephora, for example, has a plethora of beauty gift ideas for ‘her’, ranging from $25 to $300.

2. Personalise it

If you’re really strapped for time, at least make your gift cards personal and beautifully presented, rather than picking them up at a service station. Net-A-Porter’s packaging and personalised gift cards are totally luxe, and you can even have a message printed on the card. They offer global shipping too, so this is a good option for loved ones living overseas.

3. Outsource wrapping

Gift wrapping is time-consuming. If you’re not a wrapping hobbyist, take advantage of services available via many stores and major brands like Myer. Expect to pay a small amount in some circumstances, or donate to the store’s chosen charity.

And if you’re keen for your pressies to look luxe, Australian Scandinavian homewares label Design Stuff will individually wrap and uniquely decorate anything purchased via their online store. To save yourself time, hunt down some other online brands that do all the wrapping for you - some will even hand write or print the cards.

4. Hold out to decorate

Big name brands start reducing their Christmas products dramatically from mid-December onwards. If you’re hosting Christmas this year, try waiting until then to purchase your decorations, tableware, glassware and ornaments. You could even stockpile some necessities for next year if you have the storage space.

5. Create an Insta Wish-List

Collate all your gift ideas into one place and use Instagram as a tool to bookmark your favourite finds. Just press the flag icon on the bottom right-hand side of an image to save it to a private list of saved posts on your account. Personalised shopping list at its best!

6. Sort shipping out

There’s nothing worse than purchasing a present online, only to discover that - uh, oh - it’s not going to arrive by December 25. If the order is coming from overseas, be sure to check this out before ‘carting’ it. If you’re not sorted, try using online stores that deliver right up until 22 December, like The Iconic

7. Life-changing gifts

Save time and give back. There are plenty of charities that offer wonderful gift ideas, with funding going directly to a dedicated cause. Very small amounts can make a massive impact; just $40 will buy a family a goat (World Vision’s best seller).

If you’re wanting to give a physical gift with a feel-good spin, check out Thank You’s Christmas range, with all profits going towards ending world poverty. The bonus is the packaging; next-level-special.

Image sources: I Heart Bargains, Bianca Virtue, Thank You

Now you've got your Christmas presents sorted, get some show-stopping gift wrapping inspiration from YouTube sensation Paper Guru.

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